Board Bank

What is the Board Bank programme?

Board Bank is a long standing and successful programme, founded by Arts & Business NI, which strategically places executive business professionals onto the boards of leading local arts organisations.
Making use of our unique and unrivalled network of business and arts contacts across the province, applicants will work closely with the A&BNI team to find a position that suits both their personal creative passions and professional expertise.  

Why should I consider joining?

  • Because you have strategic, commercial knowledge that can add immense value to the work of the local arts sector.
  • Because you want to try something out of the ordinary to put your existing skills to work with new challenges.
  • Because facilitating the local arts and culture sector is a crucial part of ensuring that Northern Ireland is an attractive and enjoyable place for you and your employees to live and work, both now and in the future.
  • Because peers in your industry who have participated all agree the experience has been profoundly rewarding. Read about their experiences further down this page.

What is included?

A one-to-one diagnostic session with a member of the A&BNI team. This consultation will discuss your personal passions and career objectives, capturing SMART data to enable successful board placement.

‘Fundamentals of Board Membership’ induction seminar, delivered by A&BNI's Head of Arts. This seminar will help you understand more about Trustees’ roles in the cultural sector and includes legal and financial responsibilities, the role of advocates, and gives a view of the current marketplace.

Facilitated opportunities to join the board of an arts or cultural organisation.A&BNI will arrange an introduction with the board of a carefully selected arts organisation, until a match is agreed. You will attend up to three board meetings as an observer, before officially joining the board.

Access to a full year's calendar of A&BNI’s cultural and networking events, designed to allow you to form connections and build your art sector knowledge and contacts. This includes our flagship annual Governance and Thought Leadership Event.

Ongoing support, advice and guidance on governance, board development and changes in charity law for the duration of your board term from the team at Arts & Business NI.


£200 + VAT per participant (Arts & Business NI Member rate)                              


£300+ VAT per participant (non - A&BNI Member rate) 

Costs are payable only upon acceptance into the programme.

What our Board Bank participants say...

Jim McKeever, QSS Artist Studios Board Member

"My (adult) children constantly remind me, I am retired and therefore have lots of free time. Truth be told, I have no idea how I ever had time to run a company.
As a teenager I had aspirations of going into graphic design, but  thanks to my father, my background is engineering, which in turn lead me to business development. I retired at 55 to do a BA Honours, followed by a MFA, both in photography.
Having (as an artist) become involved with emerging arts festivals, and artist groups, I soon became reminded of the need for additional skill sets and structure, when planning for success. It was a fellow artist who sat on the board of Belfast Exposed, who suggested that I use my former business/management skills, by offering them through the A&BNI Board Bank programme. 
My introduction to the board of Queen Street Studios, was something of 'a baptism of fire', being in the week that the ACNI decided to  to cut all funding to QSS. The criticality of that situation help forge strong bonds between myself and the more established board members as there was a large act of faith on their part, by assigning myself, and another board member a set of objectives that were critical to QSS's survival. The faith shown by the board, supported by the structure and focus of the A&BNI training , allowed me repurpose the skills that I had acquired over 35 years in business, using them now to hopefully ease the path of our emerging artists into the market place.
There is something invigorating in being involved with likeminded people that seeks nothing for them selves, other than enhancing the opportunity of others. I am sure there are many currently in business that would be only too willing to contribute to others success.

Irene Fitzgerald, QSS Artist Studios

“QSS has provided affordable studios for professional artists in Belfast since 1984. During the early years, the organisation was managed by artists alone. But as our capacity grew, members of the business community were invited onto the Board of Directors to help develop a longer-term strategy. One such appointment was Jim McKeever who was ‘matched’ with QSS by A&BNI’s Board Bank programme. Jim arrived with vast experience in management and engineering but had also completed an MFA in Fine Art Photography at the Belfast School of Art. This combination of skills benefitted QSS greatly at a difficult time, which saw the organisation grapple with a loss of funding and the need to find new premises. I can honestly say that these obstacles could not have been overcome without the guidance we received from Jim, and the insightful support from A&BNI”.

Am I eligible?

Applicants should be working at a senior level within their industry.
Applicants must be located in Northern Ireland.

How do I apply?

Please complete the application form which can be found here, or alternatively download, complete and return the document to
Board Bank is an ongoing programme, we accept applications at any time throughout the year.    

Let's talk

For further details and any questions, please contact Maeve McKervey 

In the earlier stages of your career?

Ask us about Young Professionals on Arts Boards programme, or click here to find out more.

Funders & Supporters

This programme is subsidised by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland


Download the Board Bank 2020 flyer

More on us elsewhere...

Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.